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D1 Digest: Here’s everything that caught my attention on Friday

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Saturday Coverage:

• Aaron Fitt on Stanford’s mighty Quinn Mathews
• Joe Healy on Auburn and lefthander Tommy Vail
• Eric Sorenson on Northeastern’s continued upward climb
• SEC EXTRA: Etheridge on Arkansas’ Brady Tygart | Extra Bases Blog
• FRIDAY TOP PERFORMERS: Top 40 Hitters/Top 40 Pitchers
• Latest RPI
• Friday Scoreboard
• POSTSEASON: Field of 64 | Field of 64 Analysis

Maryland had its best performance of the season at a good time … It’s no secret at this point that Maryland is on the NCAA tournament bubble, so to say that the series at Indiana this weekend is important would be an understatement. Well, the Terrapins couldn’t have been much better in a 13-2 route of the Hoosiers. Ace pitcher Nick Dean struck out 10, walked one and allowed just two runs on five hits in seven innings of work, while offensively, Matt Shaw hit a home run, tallied three hits and knocked in three runs, and Nick Lorusso tallied three hits — one of those hits a home run. The most important aspect of the win is the fact Maryland’s RPI climbed eight spots to No. 53. Progress, indeed.

• Texas State still has that juice at times … If you read anything we wrote coming into the season, you’d know that we were pretty high on the Bobcats. Well, the season hasn’t been quite what Steven Trout thought it would be, but Texas State is still very much in the NCAA tournament mix. The Bobcats went on the road and took the series opener in a crucial bubble series, 11-1, over Old Dominion. Talented freshman slugger Chase Mora hit a home run and tallied three hits, while on the mound, Bobcats elite righthanded pitcher Levi Wells had one of his best starts of the season — maybe the best. Wells struck out 10, walked just two and allowed two hits in seven shutout innings. The Bobcats continue to inch up in the RPI, going up two spots to 51 after the ODU win.

• Arkansas showing serious grit with series win over A&M … This is one of those series that had upset written all over it coming into the weekend, but the Razorbacks had other plans. The Hogs don’t have two of their better bats this weekend in Tavian Josenberger and Jared Wegner. Yet, it hasn’t mattered through two games as the Hogs beat the Aggies for a second-straight day — this time, 10-4. Brady Tygart made his return to the mound for the first time in weeks and tossed a clean inning, while righthander Will McEntire struck out eight in 5.2 innings and Gage Wood closed out the contest with two shutout frames. From an offensive standpoint, Ben McLaughlin was the star of the evening with a double and a home run. As for the Aggies, insult was added to injury with Nathan Dettmer leaving the game with an injury. Furthermore, the Aggies are up to 21 walks for the weekend. They’re right back on the bubble.

• Auburn cooled off hot-hitting South Carolina … Our Joe Healy had much more on this contest out in Columbia, but how about the performance put together by Auburn lefthanded pitcher Tommy Vail in an 8-3 win over South Carolina? Vail certainly had his fair share of command issues against the Gamecocks, but he also struck out seven and allowed just two runs and four hits in five innings in a win over a hot-hitting club.  Cole Foster led the AU offense with a home run and a pair of RBIs, while most importantly, the win gives the Tigers a 10th Top 50 win. 

• Vanderbilt responds in solid fashion against Kentucky … Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said earlier this week he couldn’t wait to see how his team responded against Kentucky this weekend in the Music City. Well, it is so far so good after a 6-4 win over the Wildcats. Carter Holton was just OK for the Commodores, struggling with his command and allowing three runs and four hits in 3.2 innings of work, while Patrick Reilly was terrific out of the pen with 10 strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. RJ Schreck hit a home run for the ‘Dores, while Jack Bulger had two hits and two RBIs to help lead the way. Solid response. 

• Balanced approach leads Oregon over Arizona State … In our podcast earlier this week, I sang the praises of Oregon ace pitcher Jace Stoffal. You got a glimpse as to why Friday night in an 11-5 win over Arizona State. Stoffal struck out seven, walked two and allowed two runs on four hits in 6.2 innings of work against the Sun Devils. Meanwhile, the offense did their job, too, with Drew Cowley hitting two homers and knocking in five runs and Rikuu Nishida and Colby Shade each tallying two hits and knocking in a pair of runs. 

• Evansville snaps Indiana State’s 14-game winning streak … All good streaks must come to an end at some point, right? The Sycamores had been ridiculously hot over the past couple of weeks, but their 14-game winning streak came to an end Friday night in a 2-1 loss to Evansville. Give Purple Aces Friday starter Nick Smith a ton of credit. Smith struck out four and allowed just one run in seven innings of work. Shane Harris and Nate Hardman also did a terrific job out of the bullpen. 

• Take a bow, Princeton pitching staff … It was certainly a good day to be a Princeton Tiger. Not only did the Tigers do a clean sweep of Yale in a doubleheader, winning 8-0 before rolling 9-1 in the second game, they threw the program’s first no-hitter since 2008 in the second game of the doubleheader. In the first game, lefthanded pitcher Tom Chmielewski threw an absolute gem in the win, striking out 10 and allowing just five hits in a complete game shutout. Meanwhile, in game two, Jackson Emus, Jacob Faulkner and Justin Kim combined for the no-hitter. Emus led the way with nine strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work, while Faulkner went 1.1 innings and Kim followed with an inning. That’s what you call a pretty good day from your pitching staff. 

• UTSA took a hit on Friday night … The Roadrunners are one of those clubs that certainly passes the eyeball test, but they took a hit on Friday with a 4-2 loss to UAB on the road. With the loss, the ‘Runners are down seven spots to 47 in the RPI. Give a ton of credit to UAB’s Brooks Walton, who struck out three and walked three in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, UTSA ace Luke Malone allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings. UTSA needs to bounce back the next two days. 

• It’s hard to beat how dominant Tanner Hall was Friday night … There’s no question the Golden Eagles left something to be desired on the mound last weekend against Coastal Carolina. Well, righthanded pitcher Tanner Hall made sure to set the tone in a 12-1 win over Arkansas State. Hall struck out a whopping 15 batters and allowed just three hits and a run in seven innings of work. That’s one way to respond from a rough showing on the bump. 

Kansas State takes opener of crucial showdown with Texas Tech … This series could have some major ramifications on the postseason picture, and the Wildcats won the opener, 3-2, behind stellar pitching from Owen Boerema and hard-throwing closer Tyson Neighbors. Boerema struck out seven and allowed just two runs in six innings of work, while Neighbors touched 99 mph out of the pen and tossed a clean inning to close it out. Though he had some tough luck, Texas Tech lefthanded pitcher Mason Molina also had a strong start, striking out six, not walking anyone and allowing just a run in six innings of work. So, where do the two teams stand RPI wise going into Saturday? K-State is up eight spots to 60, while Tech is down to 69. 

• Louisville responds, leaves zero doubt against Miami … After losing the series opener to the Hurricanes on Thursday, Louisville left zero doubt on Friday with an 11-0 victory. Louisville righthanded pitcher Ryan Hawks struck out eight, walked two and allowed eight hits in 4.2 shutout innings, while Kade Grundy shined out of the pen with three shutout frames. From an offensive standpoint, Jack Payton, Eddie King Jr., and Brandon Anderson each hit home runs, while leadoff hitter Gavin Kilen set the tone atop the lineup with two hits, a walk, and an RBI. 

Duke continues to play at an incredible level … The Blue Devils are one of the nation’s hottest teams and won their eighth-straight game with a 17-5 road win over Virginia. Luke Storm, MJ Metz, and Alex Stone each hit home runs in the win, with Metz knocking in three runs, while Jay Beshears and Giovanni DiGiacomo combined for seven RBIs. Duke’s Alex Gow started the game on a positive note on the mound, too, allowing just a run on three hits in four innings. Duke’s RPI climbed a few more spots overnight and is now sitting at 7 overall. The Devils are putting themselves in top eight contention. 

• Stanford lefthanded pitcher Quinn Mathews was impressive against UCLA … Unfortunately, I went to watch Dallas Baptist at Rice tonight and the game was postpone in the eighth inning until Saturday because of inclement weather in the area. Well, because of that, I got home just in time to watch Mathews deal against UCLA. Mathews struck out 10, walked one and allowed just three earned runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings of work in an 8-5 win over the Bruins. He had excellent feel of his overall stuff, with the breaking ball being a weapon as usual. Meanwhile, Braden Montgomery and Eddie Park led the Cardinal offensively with two hits each. Stanford now sits alone atop the Pac-12 standings — a half-game ahead of Arizona State and two full games ahead of Oregon.


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